IWC Calibre 89 Dress Watch

IWC Calibre 89 Dress Watch

We as vintage watch collectors might sometimes be guilty of ignoring what beats inside the watches on our wrists in favor of how they look on the outside. After all, in an era where a “tropical” dial can dramatically increase the value of a particular watch, we can almost be forgiven for the oversight. However, there are certain movements that can be just as valuable—if not more—as the rest of the watch.

The Calibre 89 is one of them.

It was conceived by master movement designer Albert Pellaton as a successor to the Calibre 83 that saw IWC through the Second World War. For Pellaton, who had begun his career at Vacheron Constantin and started at IWC in 1944, the Calibre 89 was his first major project as IWC’s Technical Director. For a guideline, he followed strict specifications set forth by the British Ministry of Defense.

By the close of the 1940s, air travel was more than a novelty—it was a way of life. As navigation became increasingly mechanized, the magnetic waves that the navigational instruments emitted wrought havoc on conventional wristwatches. The bulky “flieger” watches that pilots and navigators on both sides of World War II soon proved no match to the new technologies.

So in 1949 the MOD set forth 6B/346, which required that all wristwatches destined for military service should have movements that were both highly accurate and anti-magnetic. The contract was granted to two manufactures: Jaeger-LeCoultre and IWC. Pellaton met the MOD’s requirements by covering the Calibre 83 in a soft iron cage. Further developments like twin barrels and a drive train for the sweeping seconds hand, made the Calibre 89 one of the most accurate and well-built movements available at the time.

While the military watch that it was used in, the IWC Mark XI, is highly desired by collectors, the movement was not relegated solely to military use.

It found its way into civilian watches as well, like this one that combines the utility of the Calibre 89 with a refined appearance.

With this particular example’s rose gold case and applied gold markers, the harsh militaristic look of the Mark XI is softened for the post-war age. While the sportier Caliber 89-powered Mark XI garners more attention than its dressier twin, this watch provides a more affordable alternative. Whether you're in the market for a simple classy piece, or you're looking for an exceptional vintage daily-wearer with a revered history, this IWC Caliber 89 is for you.


SKU: AS02432

Rose gold case is approximately 36mm (excluding crown). Calibre 89.

Overall Condition: Case is in very good condition overall with minimal signs of use and wear. Dial is in very good condition with crisp printing and minimal signs of age. Unsigned crown.

Includes 18mm black leather strap.

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